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Acceptable and Safe Use of Electronic Resources Policy

Approved by the Portland Public Library Board of Trustees on June 19, 2002.

The Portland Public Library’s technology equipment and Internet connection enable the Library to provide access to information beyond the confines if its own collections and thus enhance the breadth and depth of information resources available to library users.

Providing access to the Internet is consistent with the library’s mission to serve “…the Portland Community by providing a diverse collection of books and other resources, and access to information resources nationwide [and worldwide]. Its services encourage and support the educational, informational, and recreational interests of all members of the community”.

Currently, however, the Internet is an unregulated medium. The information available on the Internet includes much that is personally, professionally, and culturally enriching. It also provides access to material that may be offensive or disturbing to some individuals, as well as access to information that may be factually incorrect, misleading, and/or illegal. The Internet is a powerful tool for finding information, but it is not necessarily a substitute for other library resources. Library users are encouraged to ask a Librarian for assistance in finding the best sources for research.

The Library’s Materials Selection Policy and Rules of Conduct (posted throughout the Library) form the basis of this policy on acceptable and safe use of the Library’s resources and Internet connection. The Materials Selection Policy explains how the Library seeks to provide free and open access to ideas and information to all library users. A portion of the policy states:

“In support of intellectual freedom, the Board has reviewed and endorsed the Library Bill of Rights as adopted by the American Library Association…and the Freedom to Read Statement as adopted by the American Library Association…In addition a resolution signed on June 1, 1986, by the Trustees and Staff affirms the fundamental importance of ‘the democratic principle of the citizen’s right to free access to information.’”

Policies:

  • The Portland Public Library upholds and affirms the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected materials.
  • Internet use will be managed in a manner consistent with the Library’s Rules of Conduct.
  • The Library reserves the right to limit the use of its electronic resources by the public. Such limitations may include, but are not limited to:
    • restricting time on computers and limiting the applications or functions used on the computers;
    • requiring that patrons use library-provided supplies for downloading files;
    • charging a nominal fee for the use of certain consumable supplies (e.g., paper, headsets).
  • The Portland Public Library’s electronic resources may be used only for purposes which are legal and consistent with the Library’s mission. Unacceptable uses by patrons of all ages include, but are not limited to:
    • Harassment of other library or computer users or staff; or unauthorized access to files, data or passwords of others;
    • Libeling or slandering others;
    • Disruption or unauthorized monitoring of electronic communications;
    • Unauthorized copying of copyright-protected material;
    • Violations, or attempts to violate, computer system security (“hacking”) and/or software license agreements;
    • Intentional exposure of other individuals (particularly children) to material or images they (or parents) may find personally unsuitable;
    • Incurring any costs to the Portland Public Library.
  • The Portland Public Library affirms the responsibility of parents to determine the appropriateness of Internet-accessed resources, and all other library materials, for their children.

Internet Safety for Minors 
Parents or legal guardians are ultimately responsible for guiding their children in their use of the Internet. Children, like all patrons, must agree to and abide by the Library’s Rules of Conduct. In addition, the library takes the following actions to support parents and their children in the safe and effective use of the Internet:

  • Develops webpages and links designed for children and teens;
  • Provides written tipsheets about Internet safety;
  • Offers training opportunities for parents and their children about safe and successful Internet use;
  • Makes staff available to advise minors about safe and successful Internet use.

Parents concerned about their children’s use of electronic resources may find helpful the pamphlet Child Safety on the Information Highway, published by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and available in the library. In particular, the Library urges parents and their children to protect their safety by bearing in mind the following points:

  • Remember that people online are not always who they say they are;
  • Remember that everything that appears online is not necessarily true;
  • Never respond to a message that is obscene or threatening, or that makes you uncomfortable in any way;
  • Never share personal information like your address, phone number, or school. Parents or legal guardians should decide about other personal information such as age, family data, or financial information;
  • Never arrange a face-to-face meeting without your parent or legal guardian’s approval;
  • Parents and legal guardians should report any incidents suggesting child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.

Disclaimer

  • The Library does not monitor and has no control over the information available through the Internet, and specifically disclaims any warranty as to the information’s accuracy, authoritativeness, timeliness, usefulness or fitness for a particular purpose.
  • The Library assumes no responsibility for and shall have no liability for any direct, indirect or consequential damages arising from the use of its technology equipment, electronic resources, or connections to other Internet resources.